A city man accused of having 18 pounds of marijuana and 172 pot plants pleaded guilty this morning to felony marijuana possession.
Wayne T. Nelson, 58, of 29 Willow Ave., could be sentenced to up to 18 months in state prison. He could receive as little as probation. He is to be sentenced in Schenectady County Court in May.
In determining whether he would accept the plea, visiting Judge Richard Giardino asked Nelson what the marijuana was for.
Nelson responded that was for personal use. As Giardino went on with his questioning, prosecutor William Sanderson interjected. It couldn't have been for personal use, Sanderson said, "not this amount."
"It's not consistent with personal use," Sanderson said.
Sanderson also said that it was a sale of marijuana to another person that caught state police attention.
Giardino confirmed with Sanderson that those allegations were included in consideration of the plea offer, as Sanderson said they were.
Sanderson did say that Nelson must be honest with the probation department when they speak to him for a pre-sentence investigation report. If Sanderson believes Nelson is honest, Sanderson won't make a sentencing recommendation. Otherwise, Sanderson said he has the right to argue for the maximum sentence of 18 months.
Nelson was arrested last summer after a state police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team raid on his residence.
Inside, authorities said they found a total of 172 marijuana plants in various stages of growth, along with 18 pounds of processed marijuana.
Authorities also seized an amount of concentrated marijuana commonly referred to as "hash," hallucinogenic mushrooms, a drug used to treat opiate addiction, along with marijuana-growing equipment and $2,308 in cash, police said.
As Giardino's questioning continued, the judge asked Nelson when was the last time Nelson smoked marijuana.
Nelson responded that the last time he smoked it was the day before, Tuesday. The question went toward whether Nelson had a clear mind in court. Nelson said he did.
The judge thanked Nelson for his honesty, but he also admonished him to stop. Giardino said he has the right to order Nelson to take a drug test the day of his sentencing.
If he had Nelson tested and it came back positive for marijuana, Giardino said that could impact what sentence Nelson gets.
Sentencing was set for more than two months out, May 15. Nelson is to remain free pending sentencing.